More Celebrities Suffer From Lyme Disease Than You Think

In recent years, a number of celebrities have revealed their journeys with Lyme disease, from the terrifying symptoms that led to their diagnoses, to the treatments they've tried while searching for a cure. 

As noted by the CDC, Lyme disease is a tick-borne illness caused by bacteria, which is transferred to humans via tick bites. Initial symptoms may include fatigue, fever, rashes, and headaches, but the condition can progress if it's not diagnosed and treated. As a result, Lyme disease can affect the heart, the central nervous system, and a person's joints, leading to much more serious symptoms that are difficult to treat. While the majority of Lyme disease cases are cured with antibiotics, some people experience worsening symptoms if they've been misdiagnosed with a different condition first or reinfected with Lyme. And it would seem that several celebrities have faced incredible difficulties both before and after Lyme disease diagnoses.

Here, we take a look at 12 celebrities who are living with Lyme disease, and explore how they were diagnosed with the condition.

Shania Twain couldn't sing

Shania Twain may be known for her infectious country-pop hits, but at one point, the singer thought that her career was over following a diagnosis of Lyme disease. During her Netflix documentary "Not Just A Girl," Twain revealed (via Today) that she contracted the condition during her "Up!" tour, which took place between 2003 and 2004. "I was horseback riding, and I was bit by a tick," she explained. "The tick was infected with Lyme disease."

Twain experienced some very concerning symptoms, which eventually led to her diagnosis. She explained in the documentary that symptoms of dizziness hit when she was on stage, and she feared she might fall off. Twain also started experiencing problems with her voice, revealing in the documentary, "I thought I'd lost my voice forever. I thought that was it." She would ultimately have two open-throat surgeries to try to correct the nerve damage that was caused by Lyme disease and has since resumed singing. But it's clear that the diagnosis was incredibly scary for Twain, especially as it impacted her career.

Yolanda Hadid wasn't taken seriously

Yolanda Hadid's journey with Lyme disease has been well-documented, especially as some of her co-stars on "The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills" suggested that she wasn't really sick. During an interview with Entertainment Tonight, Hadid revealed that she was diagnosed with Lyme disease during her first season on the show, and she had no idea her symptoms would last for as long as they have. "I didn't know Lyme disease was a life sentence," she told Entertainment Tonight. "And now, here we are 10, 12 years later I'm still struggling with it."

During the Global Lyme Alliance Gala in New York in 2016, Hadid gave a speech detailing just how difficult living with Lyme disease had been for her. "This disease has brought me and many others to our knees, often wishing to die of utter hopelessness and exhaustion. Like I always say, you don't get it until you get it," she explained (via People). "It's hard for people to understand the invisible disability that owns our life, especially behind the beautiful face that shines so bright on the covers of magazines." While Hadid's journey has undoubtedly been challenging, her decision to become an advocate for other patients with the condition is so important. 

Bella Hadid underwent treatment

Yolanda Hadid's daughter, model Bella Hadid, was diagnosed with Lyme disease in 2012. In August 2023, she gave an emotional update about her health. Sharing several photos on Instagram, Bella wrote, "Living in this state, worsening with time and work while trying to make myself, my family and the people who support me, proud, had taken a toll on me in ways I can't really explain." She continued, "To be that sad and sick with the most blessings/privilege/opportunity/love around me was quite possibly the most confusing thing ever." She also revealed that she'd been undergoing treatment for Lyme disease for more than 100 days and that she would return to work when she was better.

Bella's sister Gigi Hadid, who is also a model, took to her Instagram Stories to celebrate her sibling and share an update on her progress. "Bella just finished a long and intense treatment for Lyme disease," she wrote (via People). As such a public figure, Bella's decision to share her Lyme disease journey with the world will help so many people going through the same thing.

Amy Schumer commented on weight loss

In September 2020, comedian Amy Schumer shared a photo of herself as a child on Instagram and revealed that she'd been diagnosed with Lyme disease. "Anyone get LYME this summer? I got it and I'm on doxycycline," she wrote. "I have maybe had it for years." While asking her fans for advice about the condition, she revealed that she had been avoiding the sun, and taking a herb called Lyme 2. After encouraging fans to text her with advice about Lyme disease, Schumer wrote, "I also want to say that I feel good and am excited to get rid of it."

In 2021, Schumer reflected on her Lyme disease journey during an interview with Yahoo! Life. In particular, she addressed reactions to the weight loss she experienced as a result of treatment for her Lyme disease. "I definitely like lost a couple lbs," she explained. "And people's reaction of like, 'You're losing weight,' you know, like they're congratulating you. And I'm like, it's really just about my health." Understandably, it was challenging to handle the reactions of other people while dealing with a very personal health journey.

Riley Keough underwent holistic treatment

In August 2023, actor Riley Keough opened up about her journey with Lyme disease. During a Vanity Fair profile, Keough said, "I have Lyme disease ... I used this little break that I have to come and try and see if I can alleviate it a bit." She continued, "It's a holistic treatment center and offers all kinds of things that you can't really do in America yet, like cleaning your blood." In the same profile, Keough's co-star in "Daisy Jones and the Six," Sam Claflin, celebrated Keough's ability to perform for the camera while dealing with a slew of Lyme disease symptoms. "The fact that she has all that underlying her day-to-day routine and is battling that on top of everything else — it's nothing short of miraculous," he explained.

While speaking to Porter in March 2023, Keough explained her approach to living with the chronic condition, saying, "My body is really important to me because I have Lyme disease, so I'm trying to take care of myself." As Elvis Presley's granddaughter, Keough has been in the public eye since birth, so living with a potentially debilitating disease while under such a glaring spotlight can't be easy. However, her decision to use her international platform to speak about the condition proves what an important advocate Keough really is.

Alec Baldwin thought he was going to die

During an appearance at the Bay Area Lyme Foundation LymeAid benefit in 2017, Alec Baldwin discussed his Lyme disease diagnosis with People. "I got the classic Lyme disease (symptoms) for each successive summer, for five years, every August, like this black lung, flu-like symptoms, sweating to death in my bed," he told the publication. Baldwin also revealed that he believed he was first infected 17 years earlier, and that subsequent tick bites only made the condition worse.

"The first time was the worst of all," Baldwin told People. "And I really thought this is it, I'm not going to live." He continued, "I was lying in bed saying, 'I'm going to die of Lyme disease.'" The "30 Rock" actor also noted that he's incredibly vigilant when it comes to his family, who enjoy an outdoor lifestyle. "I want my kids to grow up riding horses and bikes and enjoying themselves every day and not have to spend every day with us going over them with a magnifying glass to make sure they don't have any ticks on their body," he explained. Clearly, Baldwin's Lyme disease diagnosis had a huge impact on the actor, which is why he hopes none of his children contract the same condition. 

Debbie Gibson turned to homeopathy

Pop icon Debbie Gibson received a Lyme disease diagnosis in 2013, and she has since spoken out about the impact the condition has had on her life. When she joined the 25th season of "Dancing with the Stars" in 2017, Gibson told People, "I can't be cavalier with my body. I can't just push myself without thinking what happens next. [Lyme disease] can affect my stamina." 

While managing Lyme disease symptoms can't be easy, Gibson found some positives in her diagnosis. "I'll have weird nights where I feel like I drank three pots of espresso," she told People in 2021. "I've come to a place where I've learned to expect the unexpected with my health, but I know I can get through it. And every time I get through it, I'm reminded of how strong we all are." During the same interview, Gibson revealed that she had eschewed traditional medicine in favor of alternative therapies, such as homeopathy and applied kinesiology, when managing Lyme disease.

Justin Bieber called out the media

Justin Bieber revealed his Lyme disease diagnosis in January 2020. In a since-deleted Instagram post (via CNN), Bieber wrote, "While a lot of people kept saying Justin Bieber looks like s***, on meth etc. they failed to realize I've been recently diagnosed with Lyme disease, not only that but had a serious case of chronic mono which affected my skin, brain function, energy, and overall health." 

The following year, Bieber called out media outlets for using photos of him taken early on following his Lyme disease diagnosis to suggest something was wrong with him. "I'm still in shock we are still using those photos of me, I'm telling you media wants to pick bad photos of me to make it look like I'm not okay," he wrote in an Instagram Story in August 2021 (via Insider). Importantly, Bieber's stance called for more empathy for people living with chronic conditions and stopping fake news stories regarding people's health.

Ramona Singer encourages regular testing

"The Real Housewives of New York City" star Ramona Singer revealed her Lyme disease diagnosis in March 2020. At the time, she told E! News that she developed symptoms around Valentine's Day and was urged to see an internist, who ran a series of blood tests. The results revealed that Singer had Lyme disease, and she was prescribed antibiotics. As she told E! News, "You must get tested once a year, especially if you're in an area where there are deer ... But, we caught it early and I'm very lucky and very blessed." According to E! News, Singer also turned to an alkaline diet in an attempt to alleviate her Lyme disease symptoms.

Prior to her diagnosis, Singer already had a close connection to Lyme disease after her younger sister was diagnosed with the condition. In 2018, she opened up to Entertainment Tonight, saying, "I'm aggressive, so I started calling all my friends saying, 'My sister has Lyme disease, who do you know? Who can I call?' I was on a rampage to find the best doctor because even once you're diagnosed, some doctors don't know how to treat it or can't be bothered treating it."

Avril Lavgine thought she was dying

In April 2015, Avril Lavigne gave a candid interview to People in which she discussed her harrowing Lyme disease diagnosis. After feeling unwell for a long time, Lavigne was finally diagnosed, and she experienced some devastating symptoms due to the condition. "I had no idea a bug bite could do this," she told the publication. "I was bedridden for five months." Lavigne's symptoms got so bad, she seriously wondered if she might die. "I felt like I couldn't breathe, I couldn't talk and I couldn't move," she told People. "I thought I was dying."

Lavigne's condition meant that she had to step away from the spotlight for 18 months, and when she returned to work, she started The Avril Lavigne Foundation to help raise awareness about Lyme disease. For the "Complicated" singer, living through a severe bout of Lyme disease changed her perspective. "This was a wake-up call," she told People. "I really just want to enjoy life from here on out."

Ben Stiller thought he'd injured his knee

In October 2011, Ben Stiller opened up about his own diagnosis of Lyme disease, telling The Hollywood Reporter, "I got it in Nantucket, [Massachusetts], a couple of years ago." He continued, "My knee became inflamed and they couldn't figure out what it was, then they found out it was Lyme."

During an appearance on "The Late Show with David Letterman" in 2010 (via Chron), Stiller opened up about his journey to finally getting diagnosed with the condition. After injuring his knee during a trip to Africa, Stiller underwent a series of tests and saw a rheumatologist and an infectious rare disease doctor. When asked if he'd ever contracted Lyme disease, Stiller replied that he hadn't, but that his son had. The doctor then revealed that it was likely that Stiller had also gotten Lyme disease, which had led to the plethora of strange symptoms he'd been experiencing. As he told The Hollywood Reporter in 2011, "I'm symptom-free now, but Lyme doesn't ever leave your system. It's a really tough thing."

Kelly Osbourne was misdiagnosed for years

Kelly Osbourne was infected with Lyme disease in 2004 when her mom, Sharon Osbourne, had reindeer in their backyard for Ozzy Osbourne's 54th birthday. Unfortunately, Kelly was bitten by a tick living on one of the reindeer, and her father burned it off with a match. However, it was a decade before doctors finally realized what health condition had been causing her symptoms, such as sore throats and seizures. In an extract from her book "There Is No F****** Secret: Letters from a Bad*** B****" published in Us Weekly, Kelly explained her struggle to find a doctor who could discover what was going on with her health. She ultimately visited an alternative medicine doctor who had helped treat her brother, Jack Osbourne, after he was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. 

"For the first time, someone listened to me, and I got tested," she wrote. "The results were positive: I had stage III neurological Lyme disease. I was relieved to finally know what was going on, but I was also scared s***less." She decided to travel to a clinic in Germany, where she underwent therapy for the condition. "I started stem cell therapy," she wrote. "Rather than trying to kill off the disease with antibiotics, this treatment worked to strengthen my immune system so my body could fight off and get rid of the disease on its own, which is a much more complete and lasting cure."